Fish scientists have been busy collecting data to help understand how river management is influencing fish movement and populations on the River Murray this winter, and a recent visit by Paul Worsteling (IFISHTV) confirmed the importance of learning as much as we can about our native fish so we can protect them into the future.
More than 1000 fish were captured, measured, and tagged, thanks to a mid-June survey undertaken by five teams who went out on electrofishing boats along a 40km stretch of the Murray downstream of Yarrawonga.
By tagging, releasing, and then re-capturing these fish in the future, researchers can track survival, movement over time, and how many are caught by anglers. 100 of the tagged fish were also fitted with PIT tags to detect when they move through fishways. This video was taken when Paul was chatting to Jarod Lyon, a fish ecologist who is closely involved with the River Murray survey.
The research teams you can see in action are from the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research from the Victorian Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning (DEWLP) and part of a long-term fish monitoring program along the Murray that’s been happening for more than 20 years.
This huge set of data is very important and continues to provide important insights into fish population dynamics over time, including how fish respond to the return of snags and river flow conditions.
Mobile phones have made it easier than ever for recreational fishers to easily contribute to fish research when they catch a tagged fish. If you catch a fish with a visible tag, record the tag details, take some photos of the fish and the tag, and return it to the water. Before you head home, call the phone number on the tag and provide the details you recorded. You will be helping researchers learn more about our fabulous native fish.
PIT Tagging in the River Murray
MDBA funded two electrofishing teams (Charles Sturt University and Ecology Australia) to PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tag native fish in the River Murray below Mildura in June 2020. A total of 571 Native fish were PIT Tagged ranging from 120mm to 1.18 metres, including Golden perch, Murray cod and Silver perch.